Food Bank

Silent Rise of ‘Social Supermarket’ Banks — Long Queues on UK Streets

As the British political elite obsess over Putin and Ukraine, cities and towns across the UK experience noticeably substantial increases in food banks — seeing near minute-long queues of people lining up for free food.

The financial markets are clearly signalling a transitional period for Europe, Britain, and the US – with the stagflation dipping into a necessary period of recession in order for a hardening of the snowflakes generation, and repayment of debt.

The once emerging economies are revving up to grow, with China at the tip of the spear, and one clear sign of this is steadily and visibly climbing poverty in the UK.

Minute-Long Queues on London Streets

One such charity, FareShare, responsible for addressing hunger on the UK streets can daily handle 1.4 tons of food: weighing, unloading, blogging, organising and allocating to food aid banks in Birmingham. In last year alone, the charity did the redistribution of 54,000 tons of extra food — the equivalent of more than 120 million meals.

In very affluent parts of North London, to name but one part of London, there are reportedly remarkably long lines that are nearly minute-long in length walking end to end, in areas where food banks have apparently not been seen before.

Meanwhile, nobody is sure how many of these food bags are in operation work that even exist in Britain. Some guesses estimate this at 3,000 (if this sounds small, note that McDonald’s has a bit over 1,300 branches) the problem with knowing this is because these banks are not regulated or governed by any central authority.

Indeed, food bank Trussel Trust alone, has its own network of roughly 1400 food banks — with the next biggest, Independent Food Aid Network (Ifan — who facilitate social supermarkets, where you can “self-refer” yourself to food) owning over 500. The bulk of other food banks include the Salvation Army, universities, hospitals and others.

Instead, this growth in banks appears to be grassroot public organisations carried out by the public themselves, in response to an obvious social crisis. This emergency is being seemingly ignored by political leaders, who are instead focused on foreign interventions.

The Food Bank Machinery

Food banks work as food redistribution charities for the most part, where they acquire part of the two million-tonne surplus of food created by the British food industry yearly to feed malnutritioned and hungry Brits.

While you might think of few banks as a homily, smaller-level operations, organised by nonprofessionals recounting logistics — this is not the case for the majority: for instance FareShares which operates in Birmingham, the warehouse and its offices extends across nearly 12,000 ft².

This particular operation has seven paid employees, which includes veterans in logistics; six delivery vans and enormous chillers and freezes; with over 60 volunteers who work as members of the crew, for driving, and picker and packing.

This is just one of more than 30 operations carried out by FareShare, allowing it to redistribute roughly 7 tonnes of surplus food. And FareShare itself is just one of many redistribution operations in a much larger machinery of food banks in Britain.

Indeed, this total number is unknown, and this silent infrastructure works continuously in order to satiate the increasing numbers of struggling Brits.

Financial Market Indications & Social Supermarkets

Executive of Ifan, Sabine Goodwin, says that food banks are not solving the problem; which is why the company takes a different approach. She believes that food banks should not have to exist.

“People simply don’t have enough money to eat, that’s what needs fixing.”

Investors are eyeing China and Russia, as well as the biggest emerging economies. However, it should be said that the global influence on financial markets is probably substantially stronger than any localised situation.

So alarmist predictions of hyperinflation may be improbable, but a two-decade-long recession does seem likely as the UK, US, and Europe faces reality with its burned-out production capability and structural deficit in the markets.

The wider world is going on and moving on without these former goliaths — meaning an unavoidable commodity price inflation, de-dollarisation, de-globalisation, and industrial metals (aluminium, nickel and lead) remaining at a premium relative to their historical highs.

There will probably never be a time when the US and UK will see two quid natural gas again in living memory.

Milo, the surprise that this hidden food supply chain has been growing significantly across the UK since the financial crash of 2008 and has now widened out to include some of the top-flight firms like pallet force, supermarkets like Sainsbury’s and Tesco, as well as redistribution companies like Neighbourly and FareShare.

An army of volunteers in the tens of thousands allow the system to keep moving. And the heart of the system is charitable rather than for-profit, despite working with a similar level of acumen.

The percentage of these food banks are social supermarkets — which seems to be a growing sector — unlike the majority of food banks, these operations provide long-term assistance to those who do not have a high enough income to meet their bills as well as food. For a small fee — roughly 4 pounds — they are able to get up to 10 times this value compared to the high street.

Customers choose their own food; unlike the majority of the banks, social supermarkets normally have meat, as well as fresh fruit and veg, instead of just “ambient” (dried tin package was Paran items.


This suggests an underplayed, hidden recession of greater magnitude than recognised by the media. The food currently spilling onto the streets arrives from surplus food distributions from supermarket chains, as well as shopper donations — you may have noticed an increased number of donation boxes in your local supermarket.

Others make direct agreements with suppliers to donate, and what may be best described as an ‘ad hoc’ exchange for those who are in a crisis — note that the focus isn’t on giving the hungry three meals a day; but on keeping them from starving. Malnutrition, and perhaps debt, is still a problem. 

For The Trussell Trust, which was created in a barn at the turn of the century, those who are given food must be referred by an agency like a social service, school, or job centre who can verify that they are in need of emergency assistance. The limits are surprisingly strict, for instance a single three-day food package per month.

Others, such as Ifan, are much more casual —allowing “self referrals” and have been coined as social supermarkets.